Moving data from one location to another is something that most of us will do from time to time. If we’re only moving a small amount of data, then a USB pen drive is probably the simplest way to achieve this task. However, if we need to move around large amounts of data, then a USB pen drive is hardly a cost effective method of doing so. A far more cost effective way of moving large amounts of data from one location to another is by utilising a portable USB hard drive.
It’s not that long ago that this inevitably meant having to use a rather slow USB2 portable HDD. Fortunately the transfer speed of portable HDDs is no longer an issue, thanks to the USB3 interface and protocol.
Today I’m taking a look at the Seagate Backup Plus USB3 portable HDD, which Seagate were kind enough to send me for review. The drive I’m testing is the 500GB version, but there are other capacities available in the Seagate Backup Plus range, 750GB and 1000GB. The Seagate Backup Plus range is also available in four colours, black, read, silver, and blue. It’s also worth mentioning that the Backup Plus is also backwards compatible with USB2, although connecting via USB2 will obviously not give the same performance as a USB3 connection.
So let’s find out how this USB3 portable HDD performs in our range of tests.
Seagate company information
Seagate should need no introduction, but those of you who would like to find out more about Seagate, can do so at their website.
The Seagate Backup Plus USB3 portable HDD.
Now it’s time to take a look at the drive itself and what it came shipped with.
Inside the box
The Seagate Backup Plus package consists of the 500GB USB3 portable HDD itself, a short USB3 connection lead (42cm), and an instruction manual. At the rear of the case you can also remove the USB3 controller and connect the Backup Plus via eSATA, providing you have a suitable eSATA to SATA lead which can also provide power to the Backup Plus. There are also optional FireWire 800 and Thunderbolt adapters available for the Backup Plus at extra cost.
The case of the Seagate Backup Plus is made from high quality plastic, on which we can see the Seagate logo. Near the end of the case we can also see an LED which glows blue when the Backup Plus is connected, and flickers when data is being transferred to and from the drive. We can also see the detachable interface controller. The case itself measures (H) 14.5mm, (W) 81.1mm, (L) 123.4, and weighs in at 224 grams.
The HDD installed in the Seagate Backup Plus is Seagate’s own Momentus ST9500325AS which has two platters, and spins at 5400RPM. The Momentus also has 8MB of cache, and an SATA2 host interface.
The detachable SATA to USB3 controller.
As I mention above, the Seagate Backup Plus uses a handy "interchangeable" SATA2 to USB3, Firewire 800, and Thunderbolt adapter. Only the SATA2 to USB3 controller is supplied, but one can detach the controller and connect other drives via the adapter.
Supplied SATA2 to USB3 controller
One can even connect an SSD to the adapter, although you will only be able to achieve SATA2 speed, which is around 260 MB/s.
A Corsair Neutron GTX SSD connected to the detachable SATA2 to USB3 controller
Seagate provide their Dashboard software, which features an easy to use backup suite, including backing up and restoring to the Backup Plus portable HDD, and also to the Cloud. The Cloud option allows you to store up to 4GB of data on a remote Cloud server. This data is then of course available anywhere in the world, providing you have access to the Internet.
Seagate Dashboard option screen
The Dashboard software also provides a means of managing the backups, setting power saving options on the Backup Plus, and also a basic diagnostic test that will put the Backup Plus through a test procedure to make sure it is functioning correctly.
Seagate Dashboard information screen.
The info screen provides information of the capacity of the Backup Plus, how much free space is available on the Backup Plus, the drives serial number, and also the firmware version.
Seagate Dashboard Cloud information screen.
The Cloud information screen provides useful information on the amount of data you have stored in your Cloud account, and also how much free space you have available.
Seagate Dashboard backup management screen.
The backup manager screen allows you to manage your backups, select the backup type (full or individual files and folders), and set how frequently the backup will run. This screen is also used for restoring data to the Backup Plus.
The Seagate Backup Plus is a nice looking portable HDD, it also runs quietly, and runs cool, even after prolonged use. The Dashboard software works well, and is very easy to use.
Let’s head to the next page where we take a look at our testing methods and the review PC.